To The Moon!

How Far Away Is The Moon?

NASA recently posted this image, taken from a spacecraft that was about 3 Million miles away from earth. It captures both earth and the moon in one shot. Based on this picture, how far do you think the moon is from earth? Share any calculations or work you used to make your estimate.

To The Moon!

Act 1

What do you notice?

What do you wonder?

What questions do you have?

How far away from earth is the moon?

Act 2

NASA recently posted this image, taken from a spacecraft that was about 3 Million miles away from earth. It captures both earth and the moon in one shot.

Information:

The moon is about 240,000 miles away from earth.

The diameter of the earth is about 8,000 miles.

The image fits about 19-20 earths between actual earth and the moon.

Act 3

If NASA has measured the distance to the moon correctly, we should have been able to fit 30 earths in between! Are they wrong? No! Turns out the location of OSIRIS-REx when it took the image was not quite right. Had it been perpendicular to the line drawn between the Earth and the moon, we would have been able to fit in 30 Earths.

240,000 mi

3,180,000 mi

3,370,000 mi

Sequel

How can you use this figure to find find the measure of the obtuse angle? Can you verify the distance to the moon as 240,000 miles?

240,000 mi

3,180,000 mi

3,370,000 mi